A report from ABI Research predicts devices based on Microsoft's Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) specification will ship 4.68 million units by 2012, while Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), frequently based on Linux, will ship 90 Million units in the same time, outselling UMPCs 19 to 1.
Microsoft's UMPC specification, code named Origami, defines and ultra portable PC capable of running desktop applications without modification. While significant growth is expected, the market faces the technological barriers inherent to all mobile devices plus the need to run XP and Vista on an ultra-portable platform with a small form factor.
MIDs are more specialized devices aimed at consumers. The lower cost and broader appeal are expected to increase overall sales. ABI uses the Apple iPhone and Nokia N800 as examples of MIDs, showing just how fuzzy the line between UMPCs and MIDs can be. The Linux Devices article "UMPC expected to spawn family of devices" explores the nature of UMPCs in more detail.
Together, MID and UMPC make up a category known as "Ultra-Mobile Devices" (UMDs). Featuring "Always on" wireless connectivity, UMDs are expected to ship close to 95 million units by 2012.
ABI's 77 page report, "Mobile Internet Devices and UMPCs" costs $4,200 USD and is available from their website. The report explores the MID market, its users and its potential applications.
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